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Posts from the ‘Spiritual Growth’ Category

Hanuman and Me



"There's certainly a Wind behind taking me
forward that I know nothing about. It 
does not bid my command nor do I 
fathom it's purpose. Yet it 
propels me to a superior 
and higher goal that
I trust must
be my future."

Chinmaya Mission introduced me to Lord Hanuman. Growing up in a non-traditional environment, I was not fully conversant with the glories of this hero from our great epic, the Ramayana. Hearing the chants of Hanuman Chalisa waft through my ears, the profundity of its words and their inherent meaning were lost till I attended discourses on this iconic figure. Over time, I understood the depth of those verses and the significance behind his birth and life.

Initially, one can look at Sri Hanuman’s life-story and perhaps be inspired by it objectively. Later, it dawned on me that I needed to be Hanuman subjectively, both within and without. That was and is His eternal message.DSC_1358

Meeting Sri Hanuman at Sidhbari, during the mastakabhishekam utsav in 2007, I was awestruck as He stands 25 feet high in veerasana, the posture of the brave – ever ready to propel into action. I learned that it was Gurudev who instructed the making of His massive idol in homage to the wind god, His father Vayu, to control the powerful winds that swept through the region. And to this day, I believe that the numerous pujas and offerings conducted there by Masters and pure hearted devotees have had a visible calming impact upon those raging winds and the fact that the statue does not attract birds to ever use it as their perch is proof of its unseen power and sacredness.

For sincere seekers, to see the Lord in every thing that the eye rests upon is important and forms the very crux of any advaita spiritual teaching. Therefore, selfless service becomes the cornerstone for inner purification. Service or seva to the body, mind and intellect, service to other human beings, service to every creature, to plants, rivers, mountains and any being in distress was indeed His first teaching understood by me. By virtue of His posture at the Lord’s feet, He represents the pinnacle of seva, humility and preparedness to do the Lord’s bidding. This translates into empathy and love devoid of ulterior motives. As sadhaks, we can understand this simple readiness to serve the Guru in worship, in thought, in word, through action and finally through refined understanding.

Sri Hanuman represents all that is positive, good, strong, wise, and yet humble. These are qualities that cannot be presented on a plate for all to see. They are seen, felt and experienced through our thoughts, emotions, speech and actions. He is the devotion through which we move closer to Sri Rama, in first cleansing our minds of negativities (Bali), encouraging the good to manifest (Sugriva), doing the Lord’s work (rescuing Sita), singing the Lord’s praises and glories, and protecting the weak, noble and the good. As our minds, intellects and hearts get cleaner and purer, we imbibe these qualities and develop the power within to face whatever comes into our lives with faith, clarity, strength, fortitude and acceptance. Thus In our constant remembrance of Him, the power through which we act is Sri Hanuman’s power.

Perhaps the clearest indication of His power when applied in daily sadhana lies encapsulated in the following shloka, a part of our daily invocation mantras at Chinmaya Mission – the eight sidhis or powers potentially within all of us.

Buddhir Balam Yasho Dhairyam Nir Bhayatvam Arogata

Ajatyam Vak Patutvam Cha Hanumat Smaranat Bhavet

As our minds are purified, the intellect or buddhi gets subtle and precise and develops the ability to acknowledge whatever happens objectively with dispassion. Then we gather the strength or balam to deal with and respond to challenging situations or emotions. Keeping focused and calm, the capacity to reduce tension and maintain harmony brings yasha or good repute. Dhairyam is the patience to withstand and wait things out in the midst of difficulties or turmoil and to always see the light at the end of the tunnel. Fearlessness or nir bhayatvam arises because we understand deep within that everything that happens is because of the Lord’s doing and not as a result of personal effort. All this has a natural and therapeutic effect upon our body and we remain in good physical health, free of illness – arogata. We become strong physically and mentally. This bestows ajatyam or alertness at all times and we are able to complete tasks successfully as amply demonstrated by Sri Hanuman. He was never lazy and was ever ready to do the right thing. And finally, the power of eloquent speech or vak patutvam cha is discovered by us with the fluency to express ideas using right words at the right time.

As personal testimony, I have found that in troubled times or difficult situations, remembering Him by name; or keeping His image within the mental frame; or worshipping His picture on a wall; or just thrusting problems upon His wide shoulders; I am absolved of anxiety, worry and apprehension. The clouded sky ALWAYS gives way to brilliant sunshine. Slowly, I learned to depend upon this unseen power and it this that takes me anywhere and everywhere in my life.

May all use it as a guide because Sri Hanuman is eternal.

Jai Hanuman (son of Vayu, the God of Wind)


April 4, 2015


Is the mortar
Betwixt bricks of
Apparent dissimilarity

Critique and praise
Plenitude and penury
Honesty and rogue
Mirth and depression

One would not
Be what it is
Without the other
When actually
There’s neither..

Life comes

Rupa Anand
March 15th 2015

At the feet of Masters who teach acceptance…


August 11, 2014



Listen to birds
Listen to children

Listen to words spoken
Listen to that which is unspoken

Listen to open skies
Listen to clouds

Listen to falling rain
Listen to the rhythm of the universe

Listen to the space inside you
Listen to the space inside others

Listen to that which is unheard
Listen to that which is not thought of

Listen to stillness
Listen to nothing at all

Listen with attention
Listen with sincerity
Listen with love

Listen to silence

For God’s sake
Just Listen

Every one wants to be heard

Let’s live in the silence between words
Let’s abide in the silence of knowing
Let’s be the silence of it all

Rupa Anand
March 29th 2011

At the feet of the Master by whose Grace we learn to truly listen!

In Conversation with a Cat

June 6, 2014


Why do you rush about so much?
Because I have work to do, not laze around like you!

Have you ever tried to pay attention?
Pay attention to what?

To whatever it is that you rush about doing?
I must be paying attention, otherwise how would I accomplish anything?

No, I mean, REALLY pay attention?
I just answered that, you know!

If you were truly paying attention, you wouldn’t rush.
Really, how have you come to that conclusion?

Because then you would savor every moment!
You know, Cat, I don’t have time for your silly purrifications!

That’s just it, you are not listening. You never do.
All right, try me this time, for a change!

Let’s see now – look at you rushing – can you slow down a bit?
You mean as I walk?

Yes. We could begin from there. Presently, you are walking.
What do you want me to do – the cat-walk?

Be Present in your walk.
I want you to put your foot slowly – one behind the other.

But I am doing just that – you idiotic feline!

There you go again – ranting and raising your voice. Be quiet.
Fine – here I am, placing my fee t – s l o w l y –

That’s better. Can you please smile, also, as you walk?
Here, can you see my pearly whites, now, you dumb nitwit?

Stop being judgmental and calling me names, please!
All right, I’m sorry.

Much better, you are developing awareness to my feelings, now.

Can you feel the earth beneath your feet as you walk?
Well, I’m certainly not moon walking, you silly thing!

There you go again. Walk with intense awareness in every step.
An awareness of what, please tell me?

An awareness of all there is in this precise moment.
Do you feel the earth come up to meet you in every step?

But I thought I was walking ON the earth?

Yes, yes, you are. As your toes press down, can you feel the earth pushing
up to greet the soles of your feet?

I am trying; I’m trying to feel just that.
Good, because the earth is a living being, just like you.
O yeah, then I’m a dinosaur!

It feels your weight; it feels your thoughts; it feels your feelings!
O yeah, and I’m a flying wombat!

It knows your positivity and senses your negativity.
Yeah, the earth is a psychic, it can read my mind.

You are neither a dinosaur nor a wombat and the earth is not a psychic.
Who am I, then?

That’s precisely what I’m trying to convey, if only you’d focus!
I’m focusing.

Focus on each step you take, focus on the softness under it.
Hmm, Hmm, Hmm.

Notice your movement; notice the earth’s quiet stillness.
Hmm, Hmm, Hmm.

There is something within you that is within the earth too.
Whatever can that be?

Remember, I said the earth is a living being?

Well, so are you.
I already know that!

Yes, but not in the sense I’m implying.
Okay. Come on, tell me.

Look at yourself as Life, alive, without a name.
I don’t know if I can do that.

Feel the earth as Life, alive, without a name too.
What about you, Cat? Do I look at you as Life, obviously alive, without a name too?

Yes, yes, yes. Now, you’re getting the connection.
I am? I’ll try to assimilate this. Thank you.

Meow – Purr, purr, purr!
Hmm, Hmm, Hmm!

April 29th 2012


May 28, 2014


Ticketless I arrived
And ticketless I travel
This continuous journey of
Existence –
The conductor waves me on
As if in acknowledgment
Of my ticketless travel!

I traverse the stations
Each interesting and more colourful
Than the previous –

Off loading baggage at each stop –
Unable to resist adding some too!
Each station – a compartment
Of my life with its occupants
Whose faces shine and smile
And beckon –

I try to keep going
Ticketless –

If I am not caught
Till now –
Then it is Infinity
That protects –
And keeps me humble

I try to not to hurry –
Lest I stumble and fall flat
That will be lesson enough
To keep pride at bay and
To understand that this
Ticketless travel is prearranged
A gift voucher of sorts –

I wonder how many more
Trains to catch and
Stations to visit –
When will I dispense
With the entire luggage?
And how much more time
Till the next travel is initiated?

Ticketless, of course!

Sept 15th 2012

At the feet of the Master

Meditation with a Cat

May 25, 2014


Unmoving, she sits, majestic and resplendent –
Eyes closed, whiskers fanned, ears perked, tail tucked –
Statuesque and perfectly still


Impatiently, I move, unable to ease neither body, nor mind into stillness –
Eyes fluttering, muscles tense, ears alert, legs restless –
Un-stately and agitated.

Silent and serene, she maintains his pose –
Aware of external sounds, yet disregarding them

Read more

Tell Me How?

May 21, 2014


Tell me how not to be pliant like a willow
When winds of deceit and subterfuge blow?

To stand correct and straight amidst
Overwhelming corruption and hate?

Tell me how to fight war and strife
With a white glove and no knife?

To cry a little more now and then
On seeing killing, riots and mayhem?

Tell me how to tolerate and bear
The mindless destruction of Life everywhere?

How to feel a wrenching pain
As hunters shoot down for profit and gain?

Tell me how not to turn my face away
From gnawing poverty and hunger every day?

Tell me how to experience the same
Of those tortured and maimed?

Tell me how to be a lotus in the lagoon
Despite muddy waters, in full bloom?

Tell me how to revere and hold sublime
All Life in its variety Divine?

Tell me how, O Sage, to pray,
Bringing Compassion, Awareness and Oneness
Into our lives each day?

Feb 15th 2011
Written after the riots and chaos in Egypt, January 2011 and the multitude of scams breaking out in India.
Yet it seems perennially valid ….

To Love

May 20, 2014


Love is nothing to go blah-blah or shout
Rather it is something deep and unspoken about

Love is trust in an animal’s eyes
It is beauty in a morning sunrise

It is strength in a friend’s support
Solid and perennial like an ancient fort

Read more

The World like a Carousel

May 14, 2014


The world, like a carousel, spins so bright
And I, the foolish idiot, grins in its light

Round and round it happens to twirl
Faster and faster it seems to whirl

Read more

I Wish

May 10, 2014



I wish I was that mountain, still, majestic by itself.
I wish I was that cloud, adrift, in an azure sky.
I wish I was this rosebud, pink, waiting to be opened.
I wish I was that pine tree, tall, whistling in the wind.
I wish I was the colour, green, in a tuft of grass.
I wish I was that fragrance, sweet, in a frangipani flower.
I wish I was that voice, divine, in a koel’s song.
I wish I was that beaming smile, upon a friendly face.

Who knows I may have been them all, once upon a time?
Who knows I may be them again, in another time…

February 2009

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